An 18-10 victory over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday in the Caesars Superdome was another team win for the New Orleans Saints. But, as always, it rested upon a foundation laid by some standout individual performances.
OFFENSE: Taysom Hill is 6-2 as a starting quarterback for the Saints. It hasn't been beautiful, but he's not competing in a beauty contest. On Sunday, he wasn't spectacularly effective, but he was effective enough while helping New Orleans win its third game out of the last four. Hill completed 17 of 28 passes for 222 yards and a touchdown, and ran for 45 yards on 12 carries. Most importantly, he didn't commit a turnover, significant because the Saints didn't give Carolina any easy, extra scoring opportunities while the defense was tightening the vise around the Panthers. The Saints missed Hill's presence in the Monday night loss to Miami; it may not have led New Orleans to a win against the Dolphins, but it would have assured that Miami would have had to account for him, too.
DEFENSE: Cameron Jordan hates not playing. When he's playing the way he has in the last three games, you can see why. Since missing the first game of his NFL career, after 171 starts in 172 games, due to health and safety protocols, Jordan has been on a tear – 7.5 sacks in three games, including 3.5 against the Panthers. He's at 11.5 sacks this season – the sixth time he has surpassed the 10-sack mark in a season – and he has been more than a handful in every facet. In addition to the sacks, he was credited with three tackles for loss, three quarterback hits and eight tackles, and he definitely should be in consideration for NFC Defensive Player of the Week again. Simply, he has been a menace, and on Sunday he'll face the quarterback (Atlanta's Matt Ryan) that he has sacked the most in his NFL career.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Brett Maher has made 13 of 14 field-goal attempts this season as a Saint, including four of four against Carolina. As inefficiently as the season began for New Orleans at that position, he has provided the kind of accuracy that gives a team confidence that once it reaches his range, it'll score points. Would the Saints rather be scoring touchdowns than field goals? Of course. But sometimes, field goals are enough: He kicked three to provide all the points in the 9-0 victory over Tampa Bay, and his four on Sunday gave the Saints a lead (12-10) that they never relinquished.